Nigeria: Cough Syrup Addiction
Young people ruined by cough syrup
”The most efficient way is naturally to go to the place where students gather. Once they are high once, those young people will be deeply trapped in it and chase you for more.” Raj Biomedical Company employee Hassan said.
His words sent shivers down my spine. I know what kind of addiction he’s talking about: a 14-year-old girl addicted to cough syrup in Lagos, where I live, and her parents, grieving and helpless; another young man in Kano State , who spent the past few months drinking cough syrup with his cronies and friends, is now almost insane, locked on the floor of the rehab center, oblivious to the flies stalking around him.
My brother also drinks this cough syrup. After learning the news that his father was killed, he couldn’t let go of his heart for a long time, and could only rely on syrup for comfort. Grief, depression and even just wanting to look cooler and fit in are some of the reasons why young Nigerians are hooked on the drug. On TV, entertainers sing about the pleasure of drinking syrup; in nightclubs and on the streets, drug dealers do everything they can to sell it for high profits. As a result, countless Nigerian teenagers either mixed cough syrup into soft drinks and swallowed it, or unscrewed the bottle caps and savored it at various “syrup parties”.
One of the main ingredients in cough syrup is codeine. Codeine, a powerful pain reliever, is an addictive opioid that belongs to the same class of compounds as heroin. Taking a large amount of codeine can make the patient restless and hyperactive, and overdose can lead to organ failure and induce schizophrenia. According to statistics, the main consumer groups of this syrup are students at present.
A young man shackled screams and throws his arms into the air at Doray Rehabilitation Center in Kano state. Codeine addiction had left him insane. 72 hours earlier he was wandering the streets smashing a car window. “He is still recovering from addiction,” said Sani Usani, head of the center.
Codeine addiction can lead to delusions and hallucinations, so many patients have violent tendencies, and staff have to lock them up. Pointing to another young man in shackles, Uceini said: “He smashed the bed, smashed the window, and injured himself. He couldn’t stay well.” The rehab center was haunted by flies and stinks. “A lot of parents can’t hold back their tears when they come here,” Ussani added. Hassan is one of several pharmaceutical company employees involved in the illegal trade in cough syrup that the reporter
secretly followed and filmed
one. Raj Bio, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in northern Nigeria, where he was employed, produces a codeine cough syrup called Bolin. It is not illegal to make and consume syrups, but it is expressly prohibited to sell them to individuals without a prescription or to establishments that do not have a drug license.
”Even if someone orders 1,000 boxes of cough syrup, we won’t provide a receipt,” Hassan said, avoiding government investigation. Although this kind of corruption violated the company’s regulations, under the temptation of high profits, countless bottles of cough syrup flowed into the black market through the hands of employees.
We tipped Raj Biomedicine about Hassan’s involvement in the illegal drug trade. The company immediately issued a statement saying that the codeine cough syrup sold by the company was legal, and emphasized that the sales of Bolin syrup had been personally controlled by the company’s chairman, Bioko Rahmon. Hassan himself has denied our allegations.
Employees of drug companies who illegally sell cough syrup on the black market know of the side effects of codeine. Kutuunoya Madubuikai, the business development director of Emzol Pharmaceuticals, illegally supplied us with 60 bottles of codeine syrup. He said: “Once people are addicted to something, they can’t do without it. At that time, the price will not be a problem. Even if you give me 1 million cases, I can sell them out in a week.
” Therefore, the response of Emzor Pharmaceutical Company is that the company has launched an internal investigation on Madubuikai, but the amount of codeine syrup that this employee has access to is very limited, and it is impossible to conduct large-scale sales. The company said it would take the findings seriously and review its sales policies. In Nigeria, more than 20 pharmaceutical companies still produce codeine cough syrup.
There is a long way to go to crack down on codeine abuse.
In response to the severe situation of codeine addiction, the Nigerian Drug Enforcement Agency has stepped up its crackdown. Authorities in Katsina state intercepted a truck containing 24,000 bottles of codeine syrup; in Kano state, law enforcement officers made multiple raids to confiscate and destroy large quantities of cough syrup circulating on the streets. An official showed us the stolen goods seized by the SWAT team: more than two tons of Bolin syrup, as well as weapons such as swords and chainsaws.
Although a lot of manpower and material resources have been invested, law enforcement officials have to admit that there is a long way to go to prevent the abuse of cough syrup. According to the Nigerian Senate, in Kano and Jigawa states alone, people drink 3 million bottles of cough syrup every day. “At present, the syrup we have seized is probably less than 1/10.” Hamza Omar, the commander of the Kano Branch of the Anti-Narcotics Law Enforcement Agency, said, “The number of people who abuse syrup is too large, and there are all walks of life, poor and rich. people, educated, unschooled…sometimes even beggars and toddlers.”
Previously, the Dorai rehabilitation center saw no more than two or three patients a week. Usaini said: “Now, seven or eight or even more than ten patients are sent here every week. Those young people who are sent by their parents to recover from addiction are basically victims of cough syrup.” The wall, the God, the god, the servant, the caller, the teacher, and the student, the school, the summer, the umbrella, the umbrella, the umbrella, the umbrella, and the beheading, the camel, and the rose, and the industry. The industry, the boat, the thorium, and the thorium
. There is no equipment in a room in the rehabilitation center In the room by the window, we saw a 16-year-old girl wearing a pink headscarf. It has been two months since she received treatment, and she is still trembling. She told us that she used to get cough syrup from her boyfriend and drank it every day after school. She wants to say to those young Nigerians who are tempted by syrup: “Stay away from cough syrup, it will ruin your life.”